The growth of big data has seen a rapid increase in the use of data segments to power targeted advertising, the science of reaching anonymised niche groups of people defined by common characteristics.
VisualDNA uses the first-party, self-declared data we generate from visual personality quizzes to create high-quality Demographic, Brand Preference, Purchase Intent and, now, Emotive segments that power targeted advertising.
With multiple factors affecting the performance of a campaign much like effective media buying effective data buying is something of an art form. Programmatic? Not really: data optimisation is done manually, and by smart people. Our top tips for using data segments successfully:
1. Beware of ad-blindness! Don’t over-impress…
A car brand running a campaign of 50 million impressions will likely want to reach people in-market for a car. In theory, a segment such as “Car Buyers” would yield great results, but if that segment comprises just 500,000 people then each user would see 100 impressions a month. Not good.
Over-targeting an audience that’s too small bombards your audience - reducing conversions and increasing CPAs per impression. So define the total number of impressions served and work back. If an average of 15 monthly impressions per user is about optimal on a cost-per-impression/ conversion basis, then a 500,000-strong segment is only enough for a reach of 7.5m impressions.
A run-of-network to make up the remaining 42.5m impressions means you’re reaching a wider audience, reducing the average data and media cost per impression –plus you can test the performance of the data. Data can dramatically increase conversions, but you won’t hit that uplift and justify your data spend if you over-impress.
Trading desks know this of course but thinking about data at the media planning stage helps them buy better segments. The IAB’s Data Usage and Control Primer is a great intro for anyone using data as part of a campaign.
2. Use analytics tools to define and build your audience
At face value, choosing segments should be straightforward. Quality data, demographics from trusted providers such as Experian, and intent data from sector specialists should perform. Descriptive VisualDNA segments such as “iOS Preferrer”, or Emotive segments, built from self-declared data collected through our quizzes, are also obvious ways to build an audience.
But not all segments are self-evident. Audi, for example, might intuitively buy an “Audi Preferrer” segment from one provider, but it might be that a “Luxury Holiday Preferrer” segment from another provider is a better fit for their brand. Adding such a segment to a campaign would increase the size of the targeted audience, improving the performance of a campaign.
In addition to industry-standard audience insight tools such as Quantcast, WHYanalytics profiles a website’s audience to show which VisualDNA segments rank most highly - powerful new insight for publishers, ecommerce, advertisers, media agencies and brands.
Such tools help publishers meet high-value brand campaign briefs or identify niche audiences while, in ecommerce, online stores can personalise around personality. Plus agencies can pick the best segments to build a targeted brand advertising campaign.
3. Set the right metrics, test the data & monitor throughout.
What does success look like? A Victoria’s Secret creative showing an attractive woman sat on a beach may attract a disproportionally high number of clicks from men, suggesting that male-skewed segments should be used, at the expense of other female-oriented segments…
So it’s about conversions above clicks but track both with a short, un-targeted, “Discovery Phase” at the start of the campaign against each creative. Whether it’s a direct response or brand campaign, by analysing the ad (impression beacon) and conversion page (conversion pixel) we can tell you which segments are responding. From here you can optimise around the right segments, and have a benchmark from which to measure performance.
We’ve created WHYanalytics to help publishers, ecommerce websites, advertisers, brands and agencies better understand VisualDNA data, and use it to create a better-personalised experience for their audience – we’re working with our beta partners to build more features and functionality that will make it easy to track. Free to use and easy to deploy, try it out at why.visualdna.com/analytics
Chief Commercial Officer
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